Jenson Button is confident that McLaren is in better shape for qualifying in Australia than it was two weeks ago in Bahrain, but says it's still difficult to make predictions because he doesn't feel that Ferrari or Red Bull have shown their potential yet.
Button and teammate Lewis Hamilton were a second slower than Ferrari and Red Bull in qualifying trim at Sakhir, but the pair topped today's rain-interrupted second free practice in Melbourne and Button was third quickest in the day's first session. He is pleased with the performance of the McLaren so far but says the changeable conditions and traffic on circuit have made it difficult to read into the times.
"It's only practice and I'm sure we're running less fuel than the Ferraris and Red Bulls, but we'll see tomorrow," Button said. "At the moment, we've just got to focus on how the car feels – and it feels pretty good.
"It's important for us to be doing what we are, to get a good balance with the car, a good feeling. As soon as I jumped into the car here I was reasonably happy with the balance and it's just got better throughout the day.
"We've just been trying to tweak the balance of the car but it's been difficult because of the tough conditions and the traffic on the circuit. Both [compound] tires are working well, so it's positive, just a little bit frustrating this afternoon."
Button was unable to get a clear lap in as the circuit dried at the end of the session and was badly balked by Pedro de la Rosa's Sauber at Turns 11 and 12 on his final attempt.
"It's been tough to try to do setup work, because the weather has not been great and the traffic is pretty bad out there. Pedro [de la Rosa] was in the way coming out of the quick left-right, which is a pretty dangerous place. But I've spoken to him and it's fine.
"I think some drivers are not being told the correct information about cars catching them up. A lot of it is down to the teams to let us know who is around, because it's very difficult to see behind in these cars. There's a big difference in speed and here we're one of the quicker cars at the moment, so we're catching a lot of traffic. But we'll forget about that for now and just concentrate on how to tweak this car and make sure it's ready for qualifying."